I had recently showed my husband an article I wrote that was in Christian Women's Voice magazine. He quietly sat at the table and read my penned words and soon he had tears. He reached for my hand and said, "I'm so proud of you". Hearing those words from him just about made my feet come off the floor. My heart was beating just a little quicker as those words soaked in.
I heard these uplifting words from those close to me. So, when I sat this magazine down before my mom, I was anticipating hearing that she was proud of me. This is not what happened. My heart sank as she said, "Oh, is this all?" I could feel the tears welling up and ready to flow, but holding them back, I smiled and said, "Yes".
Later on, she told me that it was nice, but it was almost too late for my heart. Have you ever anticipated hearing, "I'm proud of you", and you hear the opposite? It can be devastating to the heart. We all want to be accepted and we just want to hear those words. As a child we need those words, and as an adult, it really doesn't change much.
Yes, we want our hard work to be recognized. In the words, "I'm so proud of you", I hear much more than it being something I have done, but something much greater and of more value. The simple fact that the Lord moved in me. He moved through me. He used me to bring a blessing to someone. He gave me a gift to share and to hear that someone is proud of me, is hearing that the Lord really did do something out of this world. He makes our dreams possible. He fills us with an eagerness to move on His behalf. When He is at work in us, He shines through us.
When I was little my dad always told me how proud he was of me. No matter what I was doing. When he was teaching me to play baseball and my nose was broken because I didn't catch the ball, he was proud of me. Not that I missed the ball, but that I picked it up again. Before my dad went to meet Jesus, one of his last words to me was that he was proud of me. I gotta tell you, I miss hearing those words from him. There are times I yearn to hear them. I know if he were here now, he would be cheering me onward.
When we hear those words we feel that we can do anything. Nothing is impossible for us. Jesus cheers us onward in our walk with Him. When we don't hear those words often enough that too can make a great impact on our lives. It can keep our dreams stagnant. It can squash us like a bug. Nothing can kill a dream faster than negative words. If we aren't careful we can have a critical spirit and all we are doing is telling someone they can do better, without recognizing what they are doing right.
It's like asking a writer to critique your work. Yes, they are to be honest. You want to hear what needs more work, but you also need to hear what is amazing. Our words have a huge impact. Many times the critical words we share may cause one to just completely give up. I mean, why keep trying if they just can't seem to get it right? While the encouraging words another hears sets them to soaring and onward to achieve great and mighty things.
There are many who have heard discouraging words and have ignored them, going on to do great works. But what about those who just couldn't forget the words that set them back? What about those who have only heard disappointment? One person can give another words that change the course of their life. Encouragement goes far beyond the words spoken. It's like a budding rose. Over time the bloom opens. The beauty and the fragrance reach many.
This has happened to my son lately. He has heard discouraging words. No matter how they were meant to be received, he heard the discouraging, "You can't do anything right, so there is no hope left in you". We cannot lift up a friend with discouraging words. They hurt and they do damage to the heart that just wants to soar and get it right.
It's like the mother who never tells her daughter just how proud she is of her. My parents came from a generation where they just didn't share. When I was growing up a hug was unheard of. Hearing I love you was close to never. I made sure my children heard they were loved daily. When they did something grand I made sure they knew how proud of them their momma was. I still send texts to tell them how proud I am of them. It doesn't have to be something huge. We can be proud of those small moments in life. In those small moments much is achieved. It gives us the green light to keep going. If we have heard, "I'm proud of you", it's going to set them on a course to always striving for greatness. It just puts a giddy up in your step.
At the end of my journey here on earth I hope to hear my Savior say the words, "Well done my daughter. Well done." It is my hope that I use up every gift He has bestowed upon me. I pray that I live each day giving Him my all. I'm learning I can't find all I need in those around me. My encouragment comes from the Lord. It is He that fills me and makes me whole.
But friends, isn't it a precious gift to the words, "I'm proud of you", from those we love? We are to encourage one another. We are to esteem others before ourselves. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. In that gem of a gift we can encourage others in their walk and inspire them to use their gifts to the fullest. Never giving up, but always striving to see it through and follow the dreams placed in our heart.
Encouragement can motivate. It can inspire. It can kill insecurities. It can give one hope. It can simply fill a heart with joy. When we give encouraging words it's like reassuring one that we believe in them.
Take the time today to encourage. Be a cheerleader! You never know the power your encouraging words can do for the one who needs to hear them so very much. May we check our words before they are spoken. Even when we must wound a friend in love, we can do so with encouragement. Remember, encouragement is from the Lord. Discouragement is from Satan. Give words of inspiration and set a heart in motion to soar. Be the giver of encouragement to a heart in need of hearing, "I'm so proud of you", today.
"Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you."
"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."
"You are valuable because you exist. Not because of what you do or what you have done, but simply because you are.
“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, Make Me Feel Important. Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”
Mary Kay Ash
“...there are persons who seem to have overcome obstacles and by character and perseverance to have risen to the top. But we have no record of the numbers of able persons who fall by the wayside, persons who, with enough encouragement and opportunity, might make great contributions.”
Mary Barnett Gilson
Mary Barnett Gilson
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
"I am able to do ALL things through Him who strengthens me."